Research Projects

  • Filipinos in Greater Boston (under contract with Arcadia Publishing)
  • Filipino American Digital Archive (FADA) at CSUDH (launch on March 5, 2022)
  • Filipino American Cultural Organizations (on-going research project for scholarly article or book): Filipino American community-based organizations have provided important resources from which Filipino Americans network, socialize, support members, and teach values to the next generation. Yet, there have been few studies in scholarly literature about these organizations and their significance for Filipino Americans’ success as an the second largest Asian immigrant group in the U.S and the largest Asian group in California (2010 U.S. Census). This is the first scholarly article to focus on the formation of Filipino American cultural organizations and their efficacy as a community-led endeavor that fills the needs of Filipino Americans, including analyses of their mission statements, leaders, services, educational programs for youth, learning outcomes, and impact. These needs result from gaps in services and lack of access to Filipino Americans provided by mainstream private, public, and educational institutions. Because Filipinos have often been overlooked and marginalized in history of United States, community-based cultural organizations are important vehicles through which Filipinos support communities and promote visibility and education about their communities to the larger public. Filipino American community-based cultural organizations reflect the growth, resources, and concerns of post-1965 Filipino Americans as they aim to forge unity, contest marginalization, and negotiate between two distinct cultural experiences as Filipinos and Americans. An examination of Filipino American community-based organizations with cultural programming will provide insight into the complexities of Filipino American experiences and goals in a diverse, multicultural landscape, adding to the fields of Asian American studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies.
Filipino immigrants to Greater Boston, 1970s


Filipinos in Greater Boston

Filipinos contribute significantly to life in Greater Boston, yet our stories are still largely untold. As early as the Civil War, a dozen Filipino men enlisted from Massachusetts. In the early 1900s, Filipino came to Boston as pensionados to study in elite universities. Physicians, nurses, military personnel, and professionals arrived in a large wave during the 1960s and settled in and around Greater Boston in towns such as Cambridge, Lexington, Malden, and Quincy. To support their communities, Filipino immigrants founded civic organizations such as the Philippine Medical Association of New England (PMANE), Pilipino-American Association of New England (PAMAS), and Philippine Nurses Association of New England (PNANE). Since 1976, parents have been volunteering at Iskwelahang Pilipino (Filipino School) to develop their American-born children’s pride for Filipino traditions. Included in these pages are never-before published photos of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., the beloved Philippine hero who opposed martial law, and his family when they lived in Boston during the early 1980s. His wife, the late Cory Aquino, and son, the late Benigno Aquino III, became Philippine presidents. This book highlights the rich histories of Filipinos in Greater Boston and aims to inspire more works that document our immigrant community that has grown, in the early 21st century, to over 25,000 people. We Filipinos may not be immediately visible, but we are here and a part of Greater Boston’s history.  

         Author Mary Talusan Lacanlale is an assistant professor of Asian-Pacific Studies at California State University-Dominguez Hills and recently published two books, Instruments of Empire: Filipino Musicians, Black Soldiers, and Military Band Music During US Colonization of the Philippines and Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California. Her sister, Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers: A Memoir, wrote the Foreword. 


Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series

Project Duration:

2 years

Item Origin:

Filipino community in Greater Boston 1920s-present

Filipino American Cultural Organizations

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